Is the ability to share food really the reason to choose a candidate?

(With all apologies to Kelly Catchpole)

I’m a Hillary supporter. I’ve made no bones about it. Why? I could list the reasons, but in this campaign season, I know no one’s listening anymore.

Kelly Catchpole simply wants a candidate with whom she can share a plate of Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers®. I would understand that if only I hadn’t heard so many people say they voted for W* because he was a man with whom they could share a beer.

No, no, no, Kelly. There are any number of reasons to select a candidate but the ability to share a meal isn’t one of them. I know I could share a meal with Hillary Clinton, but I could also hare a meal with George HW Bush. He’s an educated man, whom I respect. We disagree on policy, but we could order drinks, inspect a menu, and both agree how the arrival of the Tea Party and the elimination of earmarks destroyed civil discourse and compromise in Congress.

But I wouldn’t want him to return to the Presidency, and he would never want me to run for office. Yes, I consider him to be the best of the candidates the Republicans have offered us since, oh, I don’t know, Theodore Roosevelt. And, perhaps, the only one I with whom could sit through dinner (although I suspect Barbara would not ever invite us to dinner again). But, no, I would never vote for him to return to the Oval Office. Admittedly, he is probably the only candidate since Ford who would understand why (Reagan might have, before Nancy got her hooks into him, but he would never have considered being a Republican then).

We want a President who can negotiate with foreign leaders, navigate the aisles of Congress, react calmly when the North Koreans go ape shit, and not stir the pots of racial and class hatred. We want a President who will keep Congress from going into nuclear meltdown at budget time.

I don’t need a President who can sit comfortably at the dinner table with me. Why? Because I’m one of hundreds of millions of Americans who also demand her attention. We need a President who gets that America isn’t about me, but about the single Black mother with three children living in the projects in Chicago, the unemployed Black man just out of jail for boosting a car when he was twelve in Detroit, the steel worker in Pittsburgh with a high school degree who thinks Donald Trump really gives a shit about him, the migrant farm workers in California and New Hampshire (notice I didn’t say immigrant although they could be both in the same), the office worker like my wife who put in 27 years only to be forced into early retirement because the old-boys network had a use for her position, the thousands of millennial students stuck in colleges who have sold their degree plans to corporate sponsors because state legislatures have cut their funding, the thousands of college teachers forced into indentured servitude called adjunct professorship with the slow-death of the tenure system, the religious right who feel the tugs on their heartstrings when a passerby shouts “season’s greetings,” the freethinkers who worship Jesus and freethinkers who doubt the existence of any divine being, gay and lesbian couples, transgender children being harassed because their bodies don’t fit their identities.

In other words, the Presidency shouldn’t be about me, and that’s American’s problem isn’t it, Kelly? We want the President to reflect the person we see in the mirror. We want America to reflect the person we see in the mirror. America doesn’t work that way, and never has.

Ask the natives, who welcome us with open arms only to be told, you’re not Americans, redskins. Get thee to the reservations.

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*Don’t remember W? Do we forget that quickly? How quickly this debate erases our brains. But last summer I contended that we were experiencing a devolution of the Republican party. Little did I suspect we would be experiencing a devolution of campaign commentaty across the board.

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